Ca del Bric
Ca del Bric is in the Monferrato region of Piemonte and is a great example of the entire "eco-system" that I look for at each of my suppliers. I focus on wines that are the pure natural expression of each grape varietal and the "terroir" where the vineyards are located but to achieve such expression each producer must have the insight to understand the complex relationships between vineyards, winemaking, and the wines produced.
Giuseppe Ravera, the proprietor of Ca del Bric, starts with purity in their organically farmed vineyards where all activities are focused on enabling the healthiest and most natural soils possible for the vines. Such soils themselves are alive with a large variety of beneficial insects and micro-organisms. Such very healthy vines and vineyards then produce very healthy and pure fruit that is naturally fermented for a pure expression of both each varietal and the terroir. While our entire portfolio consists of "minimal intervention" wines, the high quality fruit produced by Ca del Bric then enables a higher level of purity in the cellar that is further supported by pristine cellar hygiene and rigorous attention to detail in the winemaking. The higher level of purity in the cellar then enables the wines to be bottled with no added sulfites at all.
The topic of sulfites in wines is also very complex and also unfortunately not well understood. It is actually far simpler with the Ca del Bric wines, however, as no sulfites are added at all. While some would use that fact for marketing purposes, Giuseppe just looks at not adding sulfites as the culmination of the successful ecosystem that he has created and by understanding all of the details required in the wine making process so that he doesn't have to use any sulfites.
The most common use of sulfites in wine is actually in almost unmeasurable amounts and consists of 1 to 2 milligrams per liter before bottling as a stabilizing agent to prevent further fermentation after bottling. With precise attention to detail in the winemaking process, however, there are other ways to ensure that no further fermentation will occur and Giuseppe thoroughly understands all the variables involved in ensuring that fermentation is complete before bottling while not using any sulfites. In any case, when wines are naturally fermented, the primary use of sulfites in winemaking which is to kill the naturally occurring yeasts on the grapes before adding "cultured yeasts" to start fermentation, is completely avoided. As such, naturally fermented wines will always be "low sulfite" wines as compared with higher production and more "commercial" wines.
Aside from general concerns about possible sulfite consumption, however (although a very healthy seeming dried apricot would have as least as much sulfites as a glass of "commercial" wine!), in my own experience I've noticed that wines with higher levels of sulfites lack the expressiveness of the wines that I search to find. Although Giuseppe is also firmly committed to creating the healthiest ecosystem possible for himself, his family, and his wines, he is also seeking to have the most expressive examples of Nebbiolo, Barbara, Dolcetto, and Cortese that can be produced.
Vineyards in Spring
Vineyards at harvest
“Reusa dij Vent” Gavi di Gavi DOCG 2021 (Cortese) (OF, NF, NAS)
“Mayno Zero” Dolcetto, Ovada DOCG 2020 (OF, NF, NAS)
Aromas include dark cherries, blackberries, boysenberries, ripe nectarines, and hints of dark cocoa and dark chocolate. Flavors include dark cherries, blackberries, dark plums, ripe strawberries, and hints of raspberries. There is a medium body but with a somewhat rich and lingering sensation as it progresses across the palate, good balance and acidity, and a long full finish.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, beef stew, rack of lamb, pork shoulder, wild boar, elk, duck, grilled chicken, coq au vin, cassoulet, salmon, tuna, clams, mussels, paella, Asian beef and pork dishes, lamb curries, Tandoori dishes, Mexican beef, pork, and chicken dishes, grilled sausages, pasta with meat sauces, lasagna, charcuterie, and mild, medium, and rich cheeses.
“Mansur” Barbera del Monferrato DOC 2019 (OF, NF, NAS)
Aromas include blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, and hints of fresh cut hay. Flavors include blackberries, dark cherries, dark plums, boysenberries, blueberries, and hints of ripe strawberries. There is a medium to full body, good balance and acidity, and a somewhat lush full finish.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, Rib Eyes, short ribs, beef stew, grilled burgers, lamb chops, pork chops, grilled chicken, coq au vin, duck, duck confit, salmon, tuna, swordfish, clams, mussels, seafood pasta dishes and soups, paella, Asian beef, pork, and chicken dishes, Mexican beef dishes, tamales, pasta with meat sauce, charcuterie, and medium to rich cheeses.
“Bigat” Nebbiolo, Monferrato DOC 2020 (OF, NF, NAS)
Aromas include dark chocolate, boysenberries, blueberries, ripe strawberries, and hints of red peaches and fresh cut hay. Flavors include dark cherries, blackberries, dark plums, and dark chocolate. There is a medium to full body, good balance and acidity, and a long lingering finish.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, short ribs, beef stew, veal chops, pork chops and pork shoulder, lamb chops, rack of lamb, elk, grilled chicken, cassoulet, salmon, swordfish, clams, mussels, paella, Asian beef, pork, and chicken dishes, lamb curries, Tandoori dishes, Mexican beef, pork, and chicken dishes, chile verde, tamales, charcuterie, and medium to rich cheeses.